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Truck drivers’ role in regional economy applauded

THE East African Business Council (EABC), has thrown its weight behind the regional truck drivers’ saga saying it appreciated the latter’s contribution to the regional economic growth.

In a statement issued by the Executive Director of the regional apex body of Private Sector associations and corporates in East Africa Dr Peter Mathuki yesterday, EABC maintained that it appreciated and recognized the selfless dedication of truck drivers who were still delivering goods to health facilities, factories and consumers across partner states.

The Council stressed that truck drivers continued to deliver essential commodities including food, personal protective equipment (PPEs), medicines, raw materials within and across EAC borders even when the region was grappling with Covid-19 pandemic.

“The truck drivers are among those risking their personal health to keep products moving to stores, hospitals, homes and elsewhere during this Covid-19 pandemic,” the statement read in part.

The EABC further noted that the truck drivers were essential in the transportation and logistics supply chain in EAC’s economic recovery and resilience as they facilitated the movement of transit goods, imports and exports in the region.

The Council further appealed to all East Africans to embrace the truck drivers and motivate them to continue moving essential goods across the EAC borders, saying it will boost the availability of medical equipment, PPEs and food crucial to protecting the health of EAC residents and improving food security in the region.

“Stigmatisation against truck drivers should never be an option, as this may lead to a disruption in the supply chain in the EAC thus affecting further trade and investment,” stressed Dr Mathuki.

“It is our duty to appreciate the zeal and sacrifice of all forefront workers during this Covid-19 pandemic.”

In 2018, total EAC’s exports to the world stood at US$ 14.0 billion with the export share of intra-EAC at 22 percent, according to EAC Trade and Investment Report, 2018.

EABC’s show of solidarity to the truck drivers comes few days after EAC neighbors got embroiled in a diplomatic tiff emanating from border closures.

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Author: EDWARD QORRO in Arusha

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